Sunday, December 08, 2019

Research corner: Climate models got it right (?)

This appears to be a new version of a 2017 article in "Carbon Brief" by Zeke Hausfather. This version has been widely reported so deserves a rebuttal by people familiar with the detailed statistics. There is an interesting first approach to that in an email from Pat Michaels below.  It would seem that we once again have the typical Green/Left strategy of playing fast and loose with the facts:

I was interviewed by Science on this article. I told the reporter that it contains a simple and obvious fatal flaw.

The authors do state that indeed Hansen Scenario B is too warm.  But they assert that it assumed an increase in forcing from CFCs and methane that was too high, given the evolution of concentrations in the thirty years after it was published.  So I looked up the original forcing and it was +0.46 w/m-sq, which they said was 27% too high, or .12 w. You can see the original forcings in an Appendix to the 1988 original Hansen paper.

But Hansen also WAY overestimated the negative forcing from sulfates, at around -1.35w.. Using observations Stevens recalculated the negative forcing from sulfates, which Lewis and Curry note is -0.5w.  So Hansen had -0.85w too much negative forcing.  This means the overall forcing in the 1988 model was 0.73w/m-sq too LOW.    Note that Stevens' result has never been refuted and that he is of very high repute. So if Hausfather et al. would have corrected for BOTH forcings, which they should have (and they must have known that Hansen's -1.35 was WAY too large), then they would have found that Scenario B was even warmer than the unadjusted Scenario A.

As I told the interviewer from Science, the paper should have noted the "what's good for the methane goose should also apply to the sulfate gander".

Models that climate scientists used in recent decades to project temperature changes have generally been very accurate, a new peer-reviewed study concludes.

Why it matters: It serves to rebut conservative opponents of proposals aimed at cutting emissions, who have long argued that models haven't gotten it right as part of broader attacks on climate science.

What they found: The study in Geophysical Research Letters reviewed the performance of 17 models published between 1970 and 2007.

"We find no evidence that the climate models evaluated in this paper have systematically overestimated or underestimated warming over their projection period," the paper states.

"In general, past climate model projections evaluated in this analysis were skillful in predicting subsequent [global mean surface temperature] warming in the years after publication."

Some, however, showed too much and others too little.

The big picture: Climate models look at the physical relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and temperature, as well as other factors including human-influenced emissions variables like economic growth and technology change.

As Vox puts it, it's about "predicting physics vs. predicting humans."

If you simply look at how well the models predicted temperature changes that later occurred, 10 of 17 were essentially spot-on — "virtually indistinguishable from observations," as this Washington Post story notes.

But if you look at how well models did at assessing the relationship between changing greenhouse concentrations and temperature, they did even better.

14 of the 17 were "consistent with observations," the paper notes, and "statistically indistinguishable from what actually occurred," co-author Gavin Schmidt writes in a blog post.


The GRL abstract

Evaluating the performance of past climate model projections

Zeke Hausfather et al


Retrospectively comparing future model projections to observations provides a robust and independent test of model skill. Here we analyse the performance of climate models published between 1970 and 2007 in projecting future global mean surface temperature (GMST) changes. Models are compared to observations based on both the change in GMST over time and the change in GMST over the change in external forcing. The latter approach accounts for mismatches in model forcings, a potential source of error in model projections independent of the accuracy of model physics. We find that climate models published over the past five decades were skillful in predicting subsequent GMST changes, with most models examined showing warming consistent with observations, particularly when mismatches between model‐projected and observationally‐estimated forcings were taken into account.


Cockamamie Climate Schemes Like Air Travel Bans and Meat Rationing Are Dead on Arrival

While Democrats constantly insist that the science on climate change is settled and humans are to blame, voters are not so sure. Even those who buy into the narrative do not want government restrictions on air travel and meat consumption.

Most voters disagreed with the claim that it is "very likely" that "climate change will be catastrophic for humans, plants and animals," which many alarmists claim to be the scientific consensus. Even so, 43 percent of voters held this view, according to a poll from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports.

Many voters said catastrophic climate change is "somewhat likely" (20 percent), while others said it is "not very likely" (18 percent), or "not at all likely" (16 percent).

Some might counter that 63 percent of voters said catastrophic climate change is "likely," but the difference between "very likely" and "somewhat likely" seems important given the Democratic alarmism on the issue. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Grow Yucca in NYC) and Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Hell Yes We Take Your Guns) have insisted that the world only has 12 years (AOC) or 10 years (Beto) left to fight climate change. To alarmists like them, anything less than "extremely likely" counts as "science denial."

Voters also proved skeptical on the causes of climate change. When asked, "Is climate change caused primarily by human activity or by long-term planetary trends?" a plurality (48 percent) pointed to "human activity," while nearly as many voters (38 percent) pointed to "long-term planetary trends." Fourteen percent said they are "not sure." Alarmists insist that the science is settled (when it is not), but Americans are not convinced.

The poll went on to ask more questions of voters who blamed human activity for climate change. Pollsters presented four different forms of government regulation to fight climate change.

The vast majority of these voters (76 percent) agreed that "federal or state governments" should "require people to engage in activities that will lower carbon-dioxide emissions." Only 14 percent disagreed, while 10 percent said they were not sure.

Half of the voters who blame human activity (50 percent) said governments should "punish with fines or jail time fossil-fuel business owners and/or executives." A quarter of these voters (25 percent) said no to this proposal, while another 25 percent said they were not sure.

Even those who blame human activity for climate change did not support restrictions on air travel or meat consumption, however. Only 34 percent said they would back government limits on air travel and 24 percent said the same for meat consumption. Most human-blamers said no to both proposals (50 percent against air travel restrictions, 61 percent against meat rationing).

Democrats proved more likely to agree that climate change is caused by human activity (67 percent), but even these Democrats proved unwilling to back government restrictions on air travel and meat consumption. Only 37 percent supported air travel bans and 27 percent backed meat rationing.

The poll also asked voters whether they had a favorable view of Sens. Bernie Sanders (S-USSR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-1/1024th of a Plan).

Voters with a "very favorable" view of Sanders were more likely to blame humans for climate change (78 percent). They were also more likely to support jailing fossil fuel executives (63 percent), government regulations to cap emissions (85 percent), restrictions on air travel (47 percent), and meat rationing (36 percent).

Similarly, those with a "very favorable" view of Warren proved more likely to blame humans (79 percent). These pro-Warren human-blamers also proved more likely to support jailing fossil fuel executives (69 percent), government regulations to cap emissions (83 percent), air travel bans (39 percent), and meat rationing (37 percent).

Authoritarians of a feather flock together. Another recent poll found that fans of Sanders and Warren proved more likely to support government restrictions on speech, complete with jail time for speech offenders.

When it comes to climate alarmism, Americans are right to be skeptical. Alarmist climate models have proven wrong time and time again. Last year, the Maldives refused to sink beneath the waves on schedule. Even the vaunted 97 percent "consensus" is an outright lie.

Climate catastrophe is possible, of course, but it is not likely. Americans should not abandon the immense wealth and opportunity of free-market capitalism based on false predictions and alarmist rhetoric.


New Scientific Study Shows Climate Change is Less Sensitive to Rising Carbon Dioxide Than the UN Projects

As governments gathered in Spain for a UN meeting on energy policy, a group of climate scientists today released a study showing that global temperature warms far less from carbon dioxide emissions than UN computer models project. Dr. Richard Lindzen, the emeritus Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, released On Climate Sensitivity as part of the Coalition's "Climate Issues in Depth" series. The topic lies at the center of the public policy debate over climate and energy, and the author is one of America's most distinguished atmospheric physicists.

The paper cites data showing that human-induced global warming above the lower end of the UN model range of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius for a doubling of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere requires "highly implausible adjustments." Another CO2 Coalition member Dr. Roy Spencer, the University of Alabama Huntsville climatologist who invented and manages satellite "remote sensing" of climate data, provided review assistance.

Dr. Lindzen found no evidence for "feedbacks" boosting human-caused warming, which have been publicized recently by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The paper by the former UN IPCC lead author, which summarizes his 50 years of climate research and peer-reviewed publication, finds "no reason to expect" significant warming or related crises from CO2 emissions.

An excerpt from the paper states:

It is commonly accepted that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere should lead to some warming (e.g. Arrhenius, 1896; Callendar, 1938). This, per se, is not particularly worrisome. As has been recognized since antiquity, the dose makes the poison. The notion that any warming, however small, is evidence of coming disaster defies reason. With respect to CO2, the dose is determined by what we call climate sensitivity. By convention, this is the eventual total increase in global mean temperature associated with a doubling of CO2. The reason we refer to a doubling is that the impact of each doubling is the same: i.e. a well-established equation based on empirical data shows that we get the same warming from an increase from 400 parts per million (ppm) to 800 ppm as we would from 200 ppm to 400 ppm (Pierrehumbert, 2011).

That is to say, the impact of each added unit of CO2 is less than the impact of its predecessor. In addition, reasonably straightforward calculations suggest that, all other indirect factors (e.g. clouds) being held constant, a doubling of CO2 should produce about one degree Celsius (1°C) of direct warming-a value that is not generally held to be alarming (Wilson and Gea-Banacloche, 2012). The radiative forcing effect of CO2 is measured in units of Watts per square meter. Each doubling of CO2 is expected to provide about 3.7 Watts per square meter (Pierrehumbert, 2011). This can be compared to the natural flows of radiant energy in and out of the climate system, estimated to be 235 to 245 Watts per square meter (Trenberth et al., 2009).

CO2 Coalition executive director Caleb Rossiter, a climate statistician, welcomed the report:

"Professor Lindzen is a great teacher. He presents the complex and chaotic world of dynamic meteorology in a way that will allow many readers in the public, the media and Congress to understand for the first time just what it is that physicists are arguing about: hypothesized warming feedbacks in computer models that simply aren't showing up in the real-world data."

Email from The CO2 Coalition:

The super-nutty French Left

French police battled with protesters in Paris on Thursday as France came to a standstill due to the largest public-sector strike in decades. Workers are striking over Macron's proposals to reform the public pension system.

The strike paralyzed the nation as mass transit shut down, teachers stayed home, and hospitals operated with skeleton staffs.

And, it wouldn't be a strike in France without left-wing loons making their presence felt.

As commuters in Paris turned to using bikes and scooters, the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion claimed responsibility for the sabotage of 3,600 electric scooters in Paris and other French cities, saying the green image of the fashionable gadgets hid an “ecologically catastrophic” reality.
Extinction Rebellion said it had sabotaged 3,600 scooters, including more than 2,000 in Paris as well as in Bordeaux and Lyon, by obscuring the QR codes that riders use to unlock them with their smartphones.

“Contrary to their reputation as a ‘soft’ or ‘green’ way of getting around, the electric scooters are ecologically catastrophic,” the group said in a statement on its French Facebook page.

The radicals won't be satisfied until we have to walk to work.


Australia: When Green/Left dam-hatred killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars of flood damage

Brisbane has a history of occasional big floods so a few decades ago, the conservative-led Queensland State government built a big flood-control dam at Wivenhoe that should have ended the floods.  It was completed in 1985 and even before it was finished, in 1983, it did stop a potentially disastrous flood.

But in 2011 a flood as big as any hit Brisbane.  Why?  A court has just adjudicated that.  They found that the Wivenhoe dam was mismanaged -- as it undoubtedly was.  They blamed only the dam managers, however, without looking into the deeper background of what happened.

The court decision is something of a vindication for me personally.  I said from the beginning that Brisbane's big Wivenhoe flood control dam would have protected us perfectly well if it had been properly used.  The court has found that it was not properly used. The dam engineers were indeed at fault.  They were very arrogant in fact.  They ignored warnings from experienced people who could see what was coming.  They thought they knew it all. So they did not start discharging until it was too late.

What the report below does not tell you is that the lameduck Bligh Labor government of the day was also grossly at fault for two reasons:

1).Had there been a competent minister in charge of the dam he could have put a rocket up the engineers and told them to start discharging.  In fact he was a Leftist featherbrain who knew nothing and did nothing.  He was a waste of breath

2).  The Bligh government had also compromised the dam for Greenie reasons.  Because of recent water shortages and drought fears at the time, there was a need to build more dams. But a Green/Left government cannot do that.  So they decided instead to use the flood compartment of Wivenhoe for water storage, thus risking exactly what happened.

So the conservative Bjelke-Peterson government had built us a massive protective asset in the form of the Wivenhoe dam but even that could not save us from human negligence.  The dam would have protected us had either the engineers or the government behaved responsibly.  Sadly, neither did

It is perhaps fitting that a Labor government now has to pick up the pieces for a folly by a previous Labor government

As flood victims celebrated after years pursuing a complicated class-action suit against the government and its water management agencies, the financial implications of the NSW Supreme Court decision to uphold their claim were still being assessed.

Supreme Court judge Robert Beech-Jones found the operation of Wivenhoe Dam was negligent in the lead-up to the deluge, with dam operators failing to take into account rainfall forecasts in the days leading up the flood. This failure contributed to the downstream flooding of parts of Ipswich and Brisbane.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander demanded Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk apologise for the “incompetence” of the Bligh government — in which she was a minister — and explain how her cash-strapped administration would pay for the compensation.

“The Labor government was responsible for the management of Wivenhoe Dam during the 2011 floods and they blew it,” Mr ­Mander said. “Labor’s incompetence has put lives at risk and ruined thousands of homes and businesses.”

The only official response from the government yesterday was a short statement by Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath saying it acknowledged the court’s decision. “The government will closely examine the judgment before making any comment on a possible appeal,” Ms D’Ath said.

Pine Mountain Nursery manager John Craigie, whose investigations were crucial to the spotlight being shone on the role the operators of the dam played in contributing to the magnitude of the flood, described the decision as bittersweet. Mr Craigie — denied an appearance at the year-long royal commission-style inquiry into the floods run by now Queensland Chief Justice Catherine Holmes — forced a reopening of public hearings and rewriting of its findings that initiated the class action.

Mr Craigie said it was the discovery of the documents and collaboration with The Australian’s Hedley Thomas and retired chemical engineer Mick O’Brien that laid the groundwork for the class-action win. “Had I not done the research that opened the way for a reopening of the flood inquiry there probably would not have been sufficient evidence to initiate a class action,’’ he said.

The decision is a victory for the more than 6800 claimants who sued the Queensland government, and dam managers SEQwater and SunWater over the scale of the ­disaster. Justice Beech-Jones accepted engineers tasked with managing Wivenhoe and Somerset dams in the lead-up to and during a “biblical” deluge in January 2011 failed in their duty of care. He said they did not follow the dam operating manual that they themselves had helped write.

No cost decision has been made, with the case to return to court in February for a costs hearing.

The decision follows the findings by the Floods Commission of Inquiry that Wivenhoe Dam had been operated in breach of its operational manual.

The inquiry found that the dam operators had failed to use rainfall forecasts in making decisions about dam operating strategies.

The status of an estimated $1.5bn in insurance payments distributed to victims since the flood is also unclear, with Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller saying insurers “will review today’s decision for its commercial implications”.

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said while SunWater and SEQwater did have legal liability insurance that could cover the compensation, it could be capped to a certain monetary value.

But Mr Potts said the state government was effectively self-insured and did not take out external insurance because it was such a large entity. He said it was likely the government would have to fund any compensation through its cash reserves, borrowing more money, creating a new levy, or increasing various taxes.

Mr Potts said defeated ­parties would consider whether there were grounds to appeal. “No doubt all of the parties will consider whether there’s been any error in the judgment or evidence which has been excluded that should have been included; they effectively have 28 days to appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal,” he said.

There were tears from some victims as the ruling was delivered, almost nine years after a disaster that devastated so many families.

Goodna retiree Frank Beaumont, 77, mulled over the years of distress he suffered after his home went under. “The mental stress has been horrendous,” Mr Beaumont said in Ipswich. “We’ve had so many trodden-down moments where the insurance didn’t pay, being kicked out of a rental home and then having to rebuild an absolutely devastated house.”

After Maurice Blackburn lawyers get paid, and their litigation funders, IMF Bentham and Innsworth, take their share of the damages payout, the rest will be shared between the class-action claimants. It is unlikely to be equal, with compensation to be based on the level of damage and financial loss.

The class action was filed by Maurice Blackburn in July 2014, with the trial starting in the Supreme Court of NSW in December 2017 and running for nearly 18 months. The litigation had to be filed interstate because, at the time, class actions could not be filed in Queensland.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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